Any water filtration systems for oil?

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by redhawk, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. redhawk

    redhawk Monkey++

    Call me crazy, but I've become VERY interested in water purifiers/filters that may remove oil from water. I'm talking about a system that any of us can store or use, not Kevin Costner's centrifuge. Does anybody know of any survival water purifiers that are able to remove oil and leave water safe for consumption?
  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I would say that most of them are able to although the oil would likely clog them up faster than normal. I'd also think that if you let the oil rise to the surface and pulled your water from beneath that, you'd have little problem. Always pull from the cleanest source available.

    My filters can remove food coloring from water - oil would be even easier to separate.
  3. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    ok oil and water don't mix. If you let it sit they will separate into the oil phase and water phase. Decant off the water. Once you do this, then you have to heat the water to volitalize any aromatic compounds/chemicals in the water left there by the oil. if you heat to boiling this should suffice for most aromatic chemicals.

    If it (the oil and water) have been mixed under extreme pressure, then you have an emulsion. Without an emulsifier this too will eventually separate but a long time will be needed. You can speed this separation up by adding a salt (NaCl) which will aid in breaking the emulsion.

    Centrifuge's work by the difference in the density of the objects to be separated. If they are close in density then separating them is difficult if not impossible. You can try flocculation to increase this difference. However, sometimes the centrifgue will whip the oil/water mix so hard that you form an emulsion.

    If you add a surfactant (like detergent)to the water oil blend this may be an option, as the surfactant will bind to the oil , but then you'd have to remove this combination from your water.

    Generally the oil will just foul up your filters.
  4. redhawk

    redhawk Monkey++

    Thanks for the information. If I understand correctly, water and oil can usually be separated by letting it sit. I can then either decant, or siphon off, the water portion of the mixture. I should then boil the water to remove any dissolved gases. I could potentially use a filter system, but it would likely clog the filter in a short amount of time.
  5. foust1012

    foust1012 Monkey+

    I agree with Melbo. Always use the cleanest source of water that you can find. The Purifiers that he is talking about that can remove food coloring from water are the Berkey systems. You can learn more about them at Home. Melbo is also right about the fact that oil will certainly slow down the flow through a filter, but the Berkey systems can be cleaned and re-used. I would filter any raw water through a towel or coffee filter before I put it into any purifier to remove as much sediment as possible.
  6. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    not necessarily gases, but small chain hydrocarbons left in the water that can be unhealthy to drink. see .mass.... link below for allowable levels of hydrocarbons in water in massachusetts.

    I retract the fouling filter with oil, because you can pass oil through a filter. However if you use your water filter with an oily water then some of the oil will be in/on your filter and it'll always be there, unless you wash it with soap or a solvent which could destroy the filter. As some links below show you can separate oil from water using a special filter.

    Using a surfactant or soap allows the oil to be desperssed in the water, thus making separation harder.

    You can also just distill the water. boiling it, condensing the vapors then open air boiling it. water boils @ 100C so any thing that boils higher than 100C will stay in the bottom, so after condensing you have all components that boil at 100C or lower. then you'd have to boil out the components that boil at less than 100C.

    Filtering oil from water. -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia

    Method of filtering oil from oil-and-water emulsions - Patent 4309289

    Polymer-based filter successfully cleans water, recovers oil in Gulf of Mexico test

    Current Regulatory Limit: Petroleum Hydrocarbons | Water, Wastewater & Wetlands | MassDEP

    Distillation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I'll see if I can find more info on this.
  7. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    Here is a chart from berkey showing what common filters will remove. Pretty impressive. I also sent them an email asking about oily water and their filters.
  8. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    LOL FOUST you work for Berkey? "

    If not, here is the response from Berkey...

    "Petroleum based products are some of the easiest to remove from water. However, please keep in mind you can overwhelm any filter element by throwing too much contaminate at it. For example, removing a gallon of kerosene from a 100 gallons of water should not be problem (time consuming, but not a problem). Removing a gallon of kerosene from 2 gallons of water & kerosene mixed would probably overwhelm the elements. When the elements do get overwhelmed they can be cleaned, but the life expectancy of the elements will be reduced if you are trying to purify a great deal of petroleum from water. I hope this helps.

    (972) 955-xxx

    If you want chad's number to talk about filtration let me know
  9. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    I always thought that distilling the water would be the best way to get rid of the volitile elements in the water. Of course, distilling water requires a still. A homemade unit shouldn't be that had to make and set up; moonshiners did it back in the 30's.
  10. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    I would also be very worried about the Corexit chemicals.......

    Can Berkey handle THAT!? [dunno]
  11. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    That chart shows that this berkey filter will remove benzene and nitrates. So it should remove larger chemicals (corexit) as well.
    Removing these small molecules makes me think they've got some ion exchange going on in the system, as filters do not normally remove nitrates.

    MSDS for corexit
    note boiling point as 147 degrees C. Distillation will get rid of this, if you need to drink gulf water.
  12. Hillclimber

    Hillclimber Monkey+++ Founding Member

    If needing hydration in the Gulf these days, I'd stick to bottled beer.
  13. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    lol like in Meh hico.
  14. foust1012

    foust1012 Monkey+


    I am a Berkey dealer. I bought one of these systems a while ago and I liked it so much that I decided to start distributing them. I did my home work in the past to buy the best possible gravity fed system and I decided that Berkey was my answer. I was right. I can't even drink water from the tap now without putting it through my Berkey.
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